After more than 13 years I have had the pleasure to be back New York together my mom and Carol, who was there studying in an English immersion course. Beyond the impressive New York, we’ve visited the monumental Washington and historical Philadelphia, but these cities are not subjects for this post. As we wanted to revisit New York and check your new attractions, I prepared a list of must-see sightseeing that everybody comes to this wonderful city should do.
Highline Park and Chelsea Market – New York (like Sao Paulo) has no much room for so many people, mainly in Manhattan. Despite this lack of space, there are still no well maintained places in town that are underused. NY city hall trying to change this situation, began a revitalization process in some of these sites. HighlinePark is a good example. This suspended railway had been disabled for many years and in 2011 its rebuilding had been completed, making this old skeleton turn into a beautiful park with a wonderful view to Hudson River and others postcards as EmpireStateBuilding, ChryslerBuilding and Statue of Liberty. Close to HighlinePark there is another attraction that changed the neighborhood: Chelsea Market. This market was created in a building where worked an old biscuit factory. Nowadays is a place of several restaurants, shops, bakeries and pastry shops, all in a very cool environment. Arrange your tour to the HighlinePark to watch the sunset next Hudson River and then enjoy a dinner at one of the many options in Chelsea Market, you will not regret.
Central Park – Central Park is the main park of the city and there are several attractions, including two major museums in New York, Metropolitan and AmericanMuseum of Natural History. Strawberry Fields is one of my favorite places at Central Park. This site was restored by Yoko Ono on tribute to John Lennon. Its teardrop shape is located opposite Dakota building where they lived together and Lennon was murdered. Thousands of people visit the famous mosaic with the word “Imagine” every year. At Central Park you can also find a small zoo, an ice skating rink (Wollman Rink), an area for theater plays (ShakespeareGarden) and even a castle (BelvedereCastle). But despite all the attractions, the best is to get lost, walking freely, watching everyday habits and the buildings which turn to this great green area.
Times Square – One of the more tourist areas of the city, it is always crowded regardless of time and it becomes obligatory visit at night. Times Square is at the corner of Broadway and 7th Avenue between 42nd and 47th streets. Dozens of giant electronic panels make this region becomes ligth as day despite the dark of night. It seems brighter outside any store than inside. A grandstand and the dozens of tables on the sidewalks are a good excuse to tourists spend hours watching panels and people going and coming. I have never seen in any other place this amount of beautiful electronic panels, like huge LED TV sets. I spent 3 of my 6 nights in NY at Times Square to watch this exclusive place.
Brooklyn Bridge – The bridge that connects Manhattan to the Brooklyn neighborhood is one of the most remarkable sights of the city and when it was built in 1883, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world. Landscape of many movies and TV series, it is known for its distinct metallic structure. Even today, it is one of the main accesses to the island of Manhattan and its upper part is open to pedestrians and cyclists. A suggestion: take the subway to Brooklyn and walk across the bridge towards Manhattan, and enjoy the beautiful architecture of the bridge. You will have a beautiful view of the southern part of the island, where you can find the most modern skyscrapers.
Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty – As Statue of Liberty is a mandatory tour, you can also visit Ellis Island at the same tour. The island was one of the main entrances of immigrants in the country. Nowadays it is the museum of immigration, showing since the story of construction of these buildings as well story of all immigrants who passed through there. The place has been restored and it is amazing. The stories are really exciting and one thing was clear, even at the beginning of the twentieth century it was not easy to enter the U.S.A. Using the same ticket you can visit both islands. Buy a ticket for the early morning and set it up to spend at least 4 hours. It’s worth!
Top of the Rock – It was the most expensive tour we did on this trip (USD 23). At the beginning we were not sure if we should visit the top, but after climbing its 68 floors we find an amazing beautiful view of the city. It worth every penny. Although it is not the tallest building in NY, it is from there you can have the best view. You have a spectacular view of two of the greatest symbols of the city: the EmpireStateBuilding and Central Park. We arrived in late afternoon and we could see the sunset and all the colors and reflected in skyscrapers until all the city lights were lit. A show like no other! This is the busiest time at Top of the Rock, so buy your ticket in advance.
SOHO – SOHO is one of the coolest neighborhoods of New York. Walking around it is an amazing experience. You can find in each little corner a unique part of the city. There are art galleries, designer shops and a gorgeous emporium called “Dean & De Lucca.” It is possible to find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, breads, cheeses and artisan sweets, all of mouth watering. Furthermore, at this neighborhood there are great restaurants like Mercer Kitchen. It had been recommended for friends and it is really nice. One of the best dining experiences of our lives.
Museums – The city has dozens of different museums but two of them are special for me: the Metropolitan and MOMA. Metropolitan is a super museum, with a little bit of everything, a well made copy of the giants: Louvre and BritishMuseum. That kind of museum that you have to go without worrying about visiting all their collections, but choose some specific ones and enjoy the most. In Metropolitan I recommend the Egyptian collection and Impressionist paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas and other artists of that time. Although I like a lot of museums, modern art is not one of my preferences, but MOMA was a great surprise. I loved it. The super modern building is a must and the sculpture garden is an oasis of peace in the busy city. But the best it was the collection of Impressionist paintings. I could see beautiful paintings by Van Gogh, among them one who I had long wanted to see: “Starry Night”, also masterpieces of Kandiski and Cezane and a beautiful panel by Monet: “The Nymphs”. For those who do not like art museums, you have the Natural History Museum as an option. It is considered one of the best in the world.
Attending a Broadway play – 13 years ago, people used to watch Cats, the French revolutionaries in Les Miserables, the helicopter in Miss Saigon, the Disney classic “Beauty and the Beast” and the phantom of the Opera. The Phantom of the Opera is the only one still in theaters, but today people is interested in the Lion King, Spider Man, The Book of Mormon, Mary Poppins and Mamma Mia that was our choice. Mamma Mia is not a mega show like many others and although we have not seen the film, we could understand the story very well. We were fascinated with their songs, all written by the Swedish band ABBA, because many of them were part of our lives. In short: we had lots of fun and we left the theater singing and dancing. There is no other place in the world where you can together: cheap ticket price and wonderful sceneries and costumes.
Flagship Stores – One of the places you can not miss in NY are the flagship stores. The city is full of them … If you have children or nephews, they will go crazy. The toy stores are wonderful and among the best options are: Toy R Us (Times Square), FAO Schwarz (5th Avenue), Lego (RockefellerCenter) and Disney (Times Square). When you go to Times Square, you can also visit the stores of M & M’s and Hershey’s. It’s amazing how they make everything with these colored small balls! Another must-see is the Apple Store at 5th Avenue, where thousands of people jostle every day to know the news products.
This is our list of must-see tours in New York. What is yours?